Lethal Ben Brereton Diaz strikes again for Blackburn against Preston



Posted Sunday, December 05, 2021 by PA

Lethal Ben Brereton Diaz strikes again for Blackburn against Preston

Ben Brereton Diaz scored his 17th of the season as Blackburn closed the gap on the top two with a 1-0 win over local rivals Preston.

Played in poor conditions with surface water making free-flowing football impossible, Rovers dug deep to edge the derby and their Chilean striker made the difference with a towering header – only a half-chance in itself – to secure maximum points.

It is perhaps a sign of the form they are in that Tony Mowbray’s men can produce a battling performance and win when they cannot play their natural game, and after notching a third successive win for the first time in just over a year, their fans will be dreaming of a promotion push.

They are seven points off second-place Bournemouth and visit the Cherries next week.

It was a familiar tale on the road for the Lilywhites who, despite a recent upturn, have won just two in 11. They ought to have taken something after controlling the first half in which Ched Evans tested Aynsley Pears.

Their inability to turn control into points was the difference between the sides.

Pears replaced the injured Thomas Kaminski in goal for Blackburn, while Preston made four changes, including a debut for Matthew Olosunde.

The surface water played a role in the early chances, as the ball held up to delay Alan Browne who dragged wide, before the pitch did similar to a routine ball across the pitch that Brereton Diaz intercepted before putting in a teasing cross that just evaded Reda Khadra.

Superb improvisation from John Buckley fashioned an opportunity midway through the first half but the weak shot was simple for Daniel Iversen.

The best chance of an opening period low on quality came in the 34th minute when Ben Whiteman’s well-worked corner found Evans at the near post, whose goal-bound strike was saved by Pears who gathered at the second attempt.

The half ended with Mowbray receiving a booking after a furious reaction to a refereeing decision from Gavin Ward, which summed up the frustration of the first 45 minutes.

His mood improved in the 53rd minute as Rovers took the lead in clinical fashion when Khadra’s whipped cross was met by a stunning glancing header from Brereton Diaz that found the far corner via a post.

The game became increasingly niggly thereafter, though Preston had a late penalty shout after the ball seemed to strike Ryan Nyambe’s arm, with the team and supporters reacting furiously after nothing was given.

At the other end, Iversen produced a fine low save to deny Brereton Diaz in the final two minutes, but Rovers had done enough.

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